With over 7,000 people already confirmed for this Sunday's (October 2) Baxter's Loch Ness Marathon, race organisers are predicting the tenth anniversary of the event will be its most successful and exciting yet. The festivities are already hotting up in the Scottish Highlands with confirmation of Baxter's Food and Drink Fayre. Situated at the event village at Baught Park beside the River Ness, the race-day Fayre offers some great opportunities to sample delicious food from Highland producers.
In commemoration of the anniversary, there will be a special memento presented to runners who have completed the previous nine Loch Ness Marathons. One of the tenth anniversary runners, Erica Christie of Bellahouston Harriers, was second in the inaugural event and continues to feature in the top rankings with a tenth place finish in 2010.
For one runner in particular, a marathon finish will be symbolic in itself. Stuart Rose, 22, who, after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis seven years ago, has been training for the event since January. Stuart, who completed the Inverness half marathon in March, will be raising money for MS Society Scotland.
Having never considered himself a long-distance runner, Stuart said he has found the training difficult, yet also rewarding, as he prepared for the event. He told scottishrunningguide.com: "I have found training mixed. At times I have found it ok but it can also be very tough. I do feel that keeping fit has really helped me in terms of my mood."
On running with MS, Stuart remained upbeat about the benefits, commenting: "My nurse has always said that exercise is good for me and I thought training for a marathon might just provide a little exercise!" Being his first marathon, Stuart revealed he is mixed with trepidation and excitement, adding: "I am very apprehensive about the marathon, especially the uphill sections. I do not have a time that I am aiming for: I would be delighted if I just crossed the finishing line."
If you would like to read more about Stuart's fundraising, you can visit his justgiving page. To find out how he and the rest of the Loch Ness runners get on at the weekend, refer to scottishrunningguide.com's results page.